In a speech liberally seasoned with self-pity, Mrs. Clinton attributed her loss of the 2016 presidential election to a convergence of two “unprecedented” events. According to the New York Times, Mrs. Clinton said those two events were (1) the release of a letter by FBI Director James B. Comey shortly before the election referencing Clinton’s private e-mail server, and (2) an “attack against our country” by Vladimir Putin that took the form of hacking into the e-mails of the DNC and campaign chair John Podesta. The hacks were directed at her, Mrs. Clinton maintained, because Putin had a “personal beef” with her because of her accusation that Russia’s 2011 parliamentary elections were rigged. Which, indeed, they were.
Where to begin?
In one sense Mrs. Clinton is correct. There was plenty of unprecedented behavior associated with the 2016 elections. She didn’t bother to mention that a great majority of it was hers.
Let’s start with the fact that Mrs. Clinton was the first Secretary of State to set up a home-server that she used for all her State Department business, in contravention of State Department Policy. And let’s not forget that she had her legal staff destroy about 30,000 e-mails that were under Congressional subpoena. Or that she lied under oath when she said that the staff read each and every e-mail before deciding which ones to destroy. Or that she lied under oath when she said that she turned over all work related product back to the State Department. Or that she lied when she said that she never sent or received classified e-mail. That was later amended to neither sent nor received e-mail classified at the time. That was a lie too. The list of lies is endless.
It was also unprecedented to have the former President of the United States meet privately in the back of an airplane with the Attorney General who is overseeing the FBI’s investigation of you. It is unprecedented for the former President of the U.S. and his wife, the Secretary of State, to have formed a charitable organization to serve as the family slush fund and money laundering operation. It is unprecedented for the Secretary of State to sign off on a deal giving the Russians control of 20% of all U.S. uranium production capacity, only to see the Secretary of State’s husband collect $500,000 for giving a speech to a Russian bank with links to the Kremlin. And, by the way, that wasn’t the only Clinton deal that carried such a stench. It’s hard to keep track of them all, but this link from the New York Times is a good place to start. The headline, which reads “Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal” says it all.
Clinton corruption is hardly a new story. It goes way back to Hillary Clinton’s days as a commodity trader; through the days of renting out the Lincoln Bedroom to campaign contributors, and then to raising campaign cash from firms and individuals with ties to the Chinese military during the 1996 campaign. All told, the Clinton’s went from being “dead broke” in 2000 to a net worth of well over $100 million dollars by 2008. So, yes, there was plenty of behavior that was unprecedented—at least before the Clinton’s came to town.
Mrs. Clinton’s Exercise in Self Deception
Let’s dispense with the fantasy that Hillary Clinton lost the election because of Russian hacking. Virtually every official that will go on record is clear that there is no evidence that voting machines were hacked, or that votes weren’t counted or that people were denied the opportunity to vote because of hacking. The behavior that Hillary Clinton is complaining about is the hack and release of information from e-mail accounts belonging to the DNC and campaign chair John Podesta.
To begin with, this would not be the first time that the Russians pulled this type of stunt. They have been in the agit prop business for at least a half-century. More to the point, this was not some sort of disinformation campaign. What the Russians leaked, primarily through Wikileaks, was in fact accurate information. That doesn’t mean that what the Russians did was ethical, proper or justifiable. Who are we trying to kid here? Vladimir Putin is an ex KGB agent. The KGB does not hire altar boys.
Mrs. Clinton would have us believe that the population was hoodwinked; that they didn’t know the facts, and therefore didn’t vote for her in sufficient numbers. Mrs. Clinton said “Make no mistake as the press is finally catching up to the facts, which we desperately tried to present to the press during the last months of the campaign. … This is an attack on our country.” The idea that the press did not cover the story is simply delusional. The Clinton campaign pressed the Russian angle for months, including during the presidential debates.
Here for instance is a quote from the final presidential debate, which took place on October 19, almost 3 weeks before the election.
Clinton: Russians “have hacked American websites, American accounts of private people, of institutions, then they have given that information to WikiLeaks for the purpose of putting it on the internet. This has come from the highest levels of the Russian government, clearly from Putin himself, in an effort, as 17 of our intelligence agencies have confirmed, to influence our election…”
So she couldn’t get the message out? Nonsense. The story was covered extensively. And remember that during the election season the Clinton campaign refused to say whether the hacked e-mails were in fact authentic, even though they obviously were. But Clinton never acknowledged the authenticity of the e-mails. In the statement above she refers to “American accounts, American websites” etc. The campaign routinely referred to the e-mails as stolen, and possibly fraudulent. (Somehow or other they didn’t mind trafficking in Trump’s stolen tax returns though).
There is a reason the Clinton campaign didn’t acknowledge the authenticity of the e-mails. It is precisely because they are authentic. Acknowledging that fact would mean owning up to their contents and her own duplicity. So Hillary Clinton is left to argue that she lost the Presidential election because the voters were treated to accurate information about her and her campaign. That’s poetic justice for you.